In What I Saw and How I Lied, many problems are brought on by Joe Spooner's greed and desire to be financially successful. When Joe returns from the war, he tells his family that he's been given a grant to start some small businesses—even though he actually stole gold from dead Jewish people and brought it over in a suitcase. And even though he found the gold with a fellow soldier, Peter Coleridge, Joe decides to go to any lengths to keep all of the money—even if that means murdering Peter in cold blood at the end of the novel.
In other words, if it weren't for Joe's greed and desire to make it big, the Spooner family would not have encountered all of the challenges that they did upon arriving in Palm Beach. Thanks for nothing, Joe.
Questions About Greed
Do you think Bev knows about how Joe got his money after the war?
Why won't Joe share any of the money with Peter Coleridge?
Why does Evie give Joe's stolen money to the Graysons at the very end?
Do you think that money and greed have anything to do with the breakdown of Joe and Bev's relationship?
Chew on This
Evie always thinks of her stepfather as a generous, loving man, but when she finds out that he's stolen the money and has been keeping it from Peter, she has to readjust her image of her stepfather.
Even though Evie can't think of Peter Coleridge as someone who is bad or greedy, he is just as bad as Joe Spooner. He steals the same money Joe does, and even covets and goes after another man's wife.